Ο NGTS-11b, as the planet is known, first appeared in 2018 at NASA, and is one of the many exoplanets discovered by the telescope TESS of space service. Like all worlds discovered by this technology, it was detected as it passed in front of its star, causing a wave of light that could be seen from Earth. Of course, since then it has never appeared again, and without the opportunity for a second look, the planet was simply "lost".
Now, researchers hope to be able to detect these lost worlds, and consequently find cooler planets closer to our solar system. Some of these planets could be habitable, scientists hope.
The NGTS-11b is located 620 light years away and is in orbit in its star, five times closer than the Earth to the Sun. It has its mass and size Saturn, and its orbit lasts 35 days. Note that although it is very close to its star, and many would expect it to be warm enough to support life, it is closer to "Goldilocks belt", So the lost planet is not very hot or cold compared to other planets.
One of the reasons for its disappearance was that the TESS telescope scans most parts of the sky every 27 days, so it can often appear to pass its star only once. Before reappearing, the telescope was exploring another part of it of heaven, leaving astronomers unable to conduct further research.
New research sees his scientists Of his University Warwick to examine the findings that the lost planet can bring, with the help of a different telescope, Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) at Chile. With this technology, they were able to observe the star for 79 nights, and were able to see this world for the second time.
«Chasing this second passage, we found a planet of a longer period. It is the first, I hope, of many such finds, and planets of a more distant period,"He said Samuel Gill of Warwick.
«These discoveries are rare but important, as they allow us to find planets of a longer period than those found by other astronomers. The planets of a longer period are cooler, more like the planets of our solar system.»
«The lost planet, NGTS-11b, has just a temperature 160 ° C, which means that is cooler than Mercury and Venus. Of course, although this temperature is too high to support life as we know it, it is closer to the Goldilocks zone than other previously discovered planets, which typically have temperatures above 1.000 ° C.. "
The lost planet paved the way for scientists, and now they hope to use the same technique to find many others like the lost planet, and come closer to locating other worlds that they could be habitable or even already habitable.
«"There are hundreds of individual crossings detected by TESS, and we will monitor them using this method," said Dr. Gill. "This will allow us to discover cooler exoplanets of all sizes, including planets that look more like those of our own solar system." Some of these will be small rocky planets in the Goldilocks zone, cool enough to host wet oceans and possibly extraterrestrial life.. "